Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Utility Belt

Lots of meetings at work yesterday, but one stands out. Most of my department is Indian. The new guy is Russian. I like the new guy, he's smart and has just the experience we need. That's why after a long and exhaustive interview process, he was the one I recommended above the other applicants.

I strive to be 100% objective and professional when it comes to hiring. So I like to think it wouldn't have mattered one bit if Vlad would have worn his fanny-pack to the actual job interview. How a man caries his smokes, smartphone and snacks has no bearing at all on his skill as an engineer. Just the same, it was probably still a good idea to leave the bum bag in the car that day. Good judgement is another quality I look for in a candidate.

Vlad's been with us almost two months now and he's really doing a great job. And I'm starting to become accustomed to the strap-on purse he wears front and center like a business-casual codpiece. Sort of. As far as I can tell he has just the one, and it really doesn't go with much. But I think I'd be way more alarmed if he had a coordinated collection.

So in a meeting today, it was interesting to listen to a group of my Indian coworkers start razzing Vlad about his geekaroo pouch. "Is that not what a tourist would wear? Are you lost and needful of directions to somewhere?" and "Is that how you carry your rubles? Why do you not convert them and carry a wallet?"

Indians are the happiest, friendliest, most polite bullies I've ever met. I actually get a little depressed if I come home with any extra lunch money. But in this case I was glad they were the ones to say something about the black leather strap-on elephant sack in the room.

As the sole American representative, and knowing full well what it's like to spend time in the cross-hairs, I kept my head down pretending to attend to an important email. (In other words, Scruffing.)

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